This blog was created to keep our expanding audience informed about what is going on in the world of Open Textbooks and related topics. Please read and enjoy the posts. You are encouraged to add any comments that add to the discussion.
ChemWiki not only shines as an exemplary series of open-licensed chemistry textbooks, it has spawned
Professor Delmar Larsen of the University of California at Davis heads the ChemWiki project, a series of online textbooks including Analytical, Biological, Inorganic, Organic, Physical, and Theoretical Chemistry plus the History of Chemistry and Lab Techniques. All are licensed Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike. Students and instructors contribute to the textbooks that are constantly improved.
ChemWiki includes more than 6,000 pages with high-quality illustrations. Individual pages in ChemWiki can be printed or turned into Adobe PDF files. Contributors include more than 30 chemistry professors and students as well as web technologists and publicist Richard Osibanjo.
ChemWiki provides maps to popular commercial general, organic, and physical textbooks.
Here are the pages showing how other colleges and universities are starting to incorporate the UC Davis ChemWiki into their courses:
College Open Textbook grantee communities include two based on the UC Davis series:
PracticeZone is part of the ChemVantage academic program learning and assessment program for General Chemistry that includes jargon used in mastering video games. Chuck Wight of the University of Utah founded ChemVantage. “We have configured the software to allow students to submit proposed solutions to the problems as often as they want, in order to improve their scores. The objective is for students to use the feedback to correct their errors prior to the deadline for the assignment.” ChemVantage carries a Creative Commons Attribution license.
College Open Textbooks delights in publicizing the wiki texts from UC Davis, the use of these by several institutions, and the exciting approach to chemistry education from the University of Utah.
Both Jacky Hood and I along with 150 other leading educators and business executives focused on education convened in Half Moon Bay on December 4-7 for the Big Ideas Fest (http://bigideasfest.org/2011-big-ideas-fest/2011-big-ideas-fest). In addition to listening to 18 speakers (http://bigideasfest.org/2011-big-ideas-fest/2011-speakers-big-ideas-fest) ranging from Martha Kanter, Under Secretary, US Department of Education, to Kaycee Eckhardt, an amazingly giving and passionate Reading Teacher from New Orleans Charter Science and Math Academy, we ate good food, networked, and worked on some big ideas.
Part of the conference was the facilitation of Action Collabs (http://bigideasfest.org/2011-big-ideas-fest/2011-action-collabs-big-ideas-fest, a great way to brainstorm solutions to core questions. There were nine groups of 15-20 people led by facilitators through the multi-day brain-storming process. Open Educational Resources (OER) were the major focus. Four of the nine groups took on the following question: “How might we leverage open (content, data, and research) to transform teaching and learning?” The groups all followed a six step process: 1) Identify the Opportunity, 2) Design the Solution, 3) Prototype the Solution, 4) Present and get Expert Feedback, 5) Update the Solution based on the feedback and Design if to Scale and Spread, and 6) Present it again. Step 1 included interviewing experts. Former COT director and now Open Courseware Consortium/CCCOER community college outreach manager, Una Daly, was one of the experts. The process was engaging and produced very interesting results. It was fun to see the solutions that 150 bright minds can produce. Strong synergy emerged among educators, business people, foundation managers, and others. The four different groups focused on the same question approached their solutions in very different ways.
Other Action Collab Topics included Assessments and Basic Literacy/Math Skills.
ISKME secured a $50k grant from the Gates Foundation to take the three most promising “big ideas” to the next level. It is a matching grant and ISKME is looking to find another $50k to match the Gates funding, which means that $100k will be used to bring 3 of the 9 ideas presented to the next level. Everyone in the Action Collab I participated in (aka WeLearn) were elated when our idea was paired with another group as one of the winners. WeLearn emphasized vocational life-long learning. Putting tools and knowledge in the hands of those in the workforce to help them learn and grow. In addition to OER and traditional content, we had focused on mentor/mentee matching and close ties to corporations as one of the benefactors of a more skill-based workforce.
This big idea is similar to a concept that the Open Doors Group has been discussing; it is called CHAI (Commerce, Healthcare, Agriculture and Industry) as a potential sharing space for flexible, affordable education/training materials. This is a much larger initiative with a focus on vocational education initiatives utilizing open resources. Very exciting idea that has synergy with the big ideas that surfaced at the Big Ideas Fest. Stay tuned for more ideas.
Related posting: Read move about the Big Ideas Fest from Carol Hedgspeth’s blog post: http://www.collegeopentextbooks.org/blog/?p=1845
NOTE: IMAGES ARE CC-BY-SA BY ISKME.
ISKME’s 3rd annual Big Ideas Fest (www.bigideasfest.org) was held in early December in Half Moon Bay, CA, and as promised, creative doers and thinkers from diverse levels of education gathered to learn from and share with each other. This convening yielded creative, inspirational, and often revolutionary ideas about current educational challenges, while providing the opportunity to interact and engage with a mix of teachers, researchers, administrators, entrepreneurs, education leaders. Central to Big Ideas Fest is the “action” component, called Action Collabs–design-oriented labs where participants brainstormed, prototyped, and ultimately create scalable solutions to major education challenges, such as achieving universal literacy and math competency, and leveraging open education to transform teaching and learning.
In a major shift from traditional educational conferences, the event is designed to bring together kindred spirits on a level playing field, where a person’s work or role becomes less important than how they share and collaborate within their group. In this way, the mix of students, teachers, administrators, researchers, inventors, and executives operate as peers in solving a common problem. These common problems are referred to as “design challenges” at the Big Ideas Fest.
One of the design challenges that was taken on by the Action Collabs was to create solutions around leveraging open content, data, and research to transform teaching and learning. During the Action Collabs, teachers, administrators, and students worked alongside noted leaders and policy makers in the field of open education. The Action Collab process facilitates moving from brainstorming ideas to creating tangible manifestations of those ideas (using pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and other craft items), in a rapid low-investment way, and results in a visual representation of a solution that helps to see the idea in the real world.
Many of the Big Ideas Fest’s rapid-fire speakers were full participants in the Action Collabs as well. Speakers on open education included Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive; Martha Kanter, the U.S. Under Secretary of Education; Neeru Kholsa, Co-Founder of CK-12 Foundation and pioneer in the OER movement; and Barbara Chow, Education Program Director at Hewlett and champion of open education resources. Additional speakers included Jody Lewen, the Executive Director of the Prison University Project; Kaycee Eckhardt, an award-winning charter school teacher whose science and math academy is housed in a FEMA trailer in the 9th ward of New Orleans; and Adora Svitak, the 13-year old recipient of NEA Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education.
THE ACTION COLLAB
The Action Collab groups that were focused on “open” provided innovative and inspired prototype solutions to the question “How might we leverage open (content, research, data) to transform teaching and learning?” One solution, “Pandora for Learning”, was designed to connect students to content that students are passionate about and that they have curated. A second solution to the open education design challenge focused on creating a virtual learning experience that is learner- and teacher-curated, linking the end user to open content about the arts.
ISKME is committed to support the further development of these and other design solutions on the soon-to-launch online Action Collab Network.
Designed by ZABELLO DESIGN.